Understanding Hindu Temples And Its Significance Every religion has a place to worship that serves as a portal or medium of communication between the Supreme Being and humans. Hinduism is one of the oldest and actively followed religion of the world. It has fascinated the world for long with its philosophical text and various deities. One of the unique features of Hinduism is that there is no founder of the belief system. It evolved with time and added scriptures as a civilization grew. On the top of the spiral lies the trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. When you visit a Hindu Temple, most of them are dedicated to Vishnu and its incarnations, Shiva, and the Eternal Shakti. Though Brahma is a part of Holy Trinity, only one temple exists in his name. The basic structure The essence of this religion is truly found in its temple. The praying style is worth noting. It is individual and not congregational except some special occasions. Though you have different deities seated in them, temples represent various dimensions of The Supreme Entity. Temples fall in the popular culture of Hinduism. Though there are subtle differences in style, there are some basic components that remain the same. Ideally a temple has four divisions: · As you enter the premises, you are greeted by Ardha Mandapa or entrance hall. These are the places for prayer meeting. Some of the larger temples have Maha Mandapa or Kalyan Mandapa that is a bigger hall. · After you enter the second gate, you are greeted by Mandapa or pillared hall. It is used for worship of a deity or any pious function like a dance. Temples evolved when there was no cement used for masonry. Therefore, the places are pillared. You can look up and see a small conical dome at the center and the entire structure supported by pillars. · Then comes the Antarala or the passage between the worldly worshiping of Mandapa and the divine abode of the deity. The place was small but filled with motifs like the rest of the temples. · Last is the Garbha Griha or sanctum sanatorium that houses the deity and is the most important and pious part of the temple. The section is attached to a spiraling conical dome, signifying the highest stage of the deity. Temples in South of India, however, have entrance as a topmost point of the temple. A place for socialization Temples in Hinduism was also a place of social interaction. There were children and women who used to connect and socialize in the premises. The motifs that you see mow on these temples are stories from Mythology, folklore or epic. They were used as a means of information and entertainment. The conception of temple Ideally a temple is named after the main or central deity. You may find different names, but the sanctum sanatorium adorned with different deity, the difference in name is to signify the incarnation or dimension of a deity that resides here. Seven cities are considered the most pious in Hindu Religion and host a multitude of temples. The seven names are Varanasi or Kasi, Dwarka, Mathura, Ayodhya, Avantika, Puri, and Kanchi. These places are known for penances of saints and birth of Incarnations. Ideally a temple is constructed by a sage or by some celestial deity as per mythology. Visit a temple, and there will be a story behind it.